The Open Source University Alliance Initiative is an initiative of the Erasmus Without Paper project (EWP) that aims to let all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe face the challenges of the information society, in an efficient and qualitative way. By creating an open repository of source code and software, the higher education community will have full access to the necessary tools to meet the demands that they are posed with today. The core of the Open Source University Alliance will be composed by HEIs willing to lead by example with regards to sharing open source solutions developed by their respective teams.
For HEIs that are in the need of developing IT tools that can support the management of, for example, their student mobility, they are forced to do it largely on their own. Either by developing something new from scratch or by updating the software they have previously developed themselves. This process is not only slow and inefficient, but also expensive. An alternative to working individually is for the higher education community to share the source code of their applications, eliminating redundancy. By doing so, the HEIs would both dramatically accelerate their ability to maintain state of the art systems and enhance the efficiency and cost management for their digital systems. The advantages would also extend beyond this, and promote real collaboration and exchange of expertise among IT teams, which in turn would lead to higher security and quality standards.
From 2019 to 2021, the vast majority of European HEIs will be looking to connect their student information systems (SIS) to the EWP Network. The single largest obstacle to enacting the change of paradigm EWP will bring about is the great commitment of resources by all HEIs that need to update their in-house-developed SIS. Indeed, the digital exchange of student data that comes with the EWP will in almost all cases require an overhaul of the original SIS. While considerable attention is being paid to making the connection to EWP as simple and straightforward as possible there could not be a better moment to create the conditions for HEIs to embrace two changes of paradigm at once and join the open source software movement.
With this in view, the EWP proposes a new deliverable consisting of a repository of open source code and software. Such a resource is meant to let any developer access a catalogue of modules developed by peers which can be adapted to the needs of their own HEI – and once again shared with the community. To render the repository useful it needs to have a critical mass of content at its launch, in December 2018, and guaranteeing this is the mission of the Open Source University Alliance.
The Open Source University Alliance is an initiative created by the EWP project. The EWP project proposed is a response to the current needs of the information society, more specifically a large number of potential end-beneficiaries ranging from students, institutional Erasmus co-ordinators, higher education institutions at large, national agencies, or even the European Commission. The EWP network is the first attempt to standardize student data transfer on a European-wide scale. The establishment of the Open Source University Alliance is a vital step in the creation of this network.
In order to monitor the progress of the initiative a steering committee has been set it. It consists of:
But the foundation of the Open Source University Alliance are the individual HEIs that show their support for the initiative by donating code to the repository. It is their contributions that makes the Open Source University Alliance possible. It is therefore crucial that as many HEIs sign up and show support for the initiative as possible. By signing up, you will contribute to the creation of an open source of tools that will aid all the thousands of HEIs in Europe. Their contribution will then help your HEI efficiently realize any digital development necessary.
The time is coming. The Open Source Repository will be available in December 2018.
See how to contribute
We all care about quality. In order to easily and efficiently share a code repository with other Institutions, it is important to follow the common best practices. Please look for the following guidelines:
From setup to optimization, learn how to use GitHub to get the job done:
Style Guides are for consistent code among every coders. Adopting standard style means ranking the importance of code clarity and community conventions higher than personal style. For programmers, it provides benefits in: correctness, readability, efficiency and happiness.
Please check the Coding Style Guides for the main languages.
Contributing to the Open Source University Alliance is very easy. You contribute by filling out the form below. This form is both a way for you to show your support for the initiative, share some code repository with other Institutions, and a possibility for us to easily communicate with you.
For the form, we would kindly like to ask your institution to provide us with a contact person, who we can contact for the initiative and the repository. This is preferably someone from the IT-department.